Dubai – “ASWAQ”
Middle East remittances recorded an outstanding figure in excess of US$120 billion in 2015, thus placing it as one of the top outward remittance hubs in the world, according to a study by Xpress Money, one of the money transfer brands in the world.
Xpress Money, in its complementary internal research, indicated that remittances within the Middle East are rising rapidly, as more Arab nationals are transferring money from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to other Arab countries. According to the study, not only are Arabs sending money more frequently, but the amounts tend to also be larger.
The survey conducted among Arab expatriates across multiple nationalities revealed that 71 per cent send money back home, with 38 per cent sending money home at least once a month, and another 32 per cent sending money at least every 2 to 3 months. On an average, expat Arab remitters based in select GCC countries send more money home regularly, with amounts ranging from US$700 to US$1,000.
The US$120 billion outward remittance figure for the Middle East includes worldwide destinations, particularly the South and South East Asia. The non-GCC Arab countries are also rising on the list, with Egypt in the top 10 list of remittance receiving countries.
Xpress Money’s COO Sudhesh Giriyan was quoted as saying that the GCC is considered a vibrant job market and destination for Middle Eastern expatriate Arabs. They understand the culture and the language, and are well placed to take advantage of job opportunities created through trade, tourism, and large events such as the upcoming Expo2020.
Giriyan added, “We are seeing this demographic increase not just in numbers but also spending power and the desire to remit money back home. And with the GCC job market staying largely secure, we expect these trends to continue and even accelerate.”
Especially so, given the rise of global events coming to the region such as Expo 2020 in Dubai and the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup. Thus, remitting money is set to increase as these global events create positive halo effects leading to more employment opportunities and attracting more jobseekers, which would in turn lead to increasing flow of remittance from GCC countries to the Levant nations and North African geographies within Middle East and North African (Mena) region.